Last night I had my first dry needle appointment at CrossFit PHX. We’ve brought in a legit Physical Therapist who’s worked with/on the likes of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Steelers in the past. He was a collegiate baseball player and is now an avid CrossFitter. This lends well to the work that he does because he is aware and in tune with what rigors of my fitness lifestyle, as well as high levels of performance in previous life that may be the root of issues I have currently.
Before we started Dr. Matt got me on the table and ran me though a comprehensive assessment in which, a pallet of diagnostic pulls and prods, put my pelvis back in alignment. There’s nothing like discovering that space behind your balls can pop like a knuckle. He followed that up with a sequence of Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching to increase the internal rotation of my left hip, which is extremely lacking due to years of compensation after two knee surgeries. As a result, we discussed how lop-sided I am from left to right in that I rotate to the right in a squat as my body is seeking that missing mobility to achieve a full range of motion.
“If you’re lacking mobility somewhere, you’re body is going to find it somewhere else.” That is not always a good thing.
This compensation as manifested in tension and constant guarding in my lower back. The muscles surrounding my lumbar spine don’t really relax and are overly engaged, even in relaxed postures such as sitting and sleeping. I had never tried dry-needling before, and from what I’ve heard and the homework I’ve done, I figured why not. So Dr. Matt flips me over on the table, and commences to place pin-thin needles in the aforementioned area of tension. It was a little uncomfortable in certain moments, with a gentle spasm triggered here and there. Then he did something that absolutely blew my mind. He hooked an electric stem up to the needles protruding from my lumber region and began to enhance the treatment with gentle electrically controlled contraction and relaxation.
As a result of last night’s treatment, I am tender in the obvious sites of insertion from the needles, but I woke up this morning absent of the normal aches deep in my lower back. This is no doubt an acute response, so I am interested in to see how it feels in the next few days, and over time with regularly scheduled treatments.
If there is anything that I can say for sure, is that Dr. Matt most definitely knows his shit. He demonstrates the rare combination of education combined with practical experience, answering all my nerdy questions with comprehensive textbook answers accompanied by purpose and examples from experience for why we are going about treatment this way. While I am not even close to some of the million-dollar specimens (professional athletes) he’s treated in the past, he definitely goes about his craft as if I was. Thanks Dr. Matt, I’m happy to have you on Team PHX!